(All times rounded to nearest 15 seconds.)
Ticket from the Reims Concert
Thanks to Jacob Pertou for uploading this ticket scan to his blog.
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Backstage pass from the Reims Concert
Thanks to Jupe Uriarte for providing this scan.
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On 13th December, Tangerine Dream gave a spectacular concert at the cathedral in Reims in France. The atmosphere in this gothic church enlightened by candles was the perfect background for the music of Tangerine Dream. The music, which was performed by Froese, Franke and Baumann who sat almost motionless in the semi-darkness in front of their electronic altars, created a mysterious religious mood. A lot of people made a 'pilgrimage' to this event, and the cathedral with seats for approximately 2,000 people, had to make room for about 5,000 people that day! This of course did not go by unnoticed, and afterwards this old Catholic cathedral was left in a minor chaos!
Froese: "It was a terrible situation. People couldn't move, they had to piss up against the walls. You can imagine the mess by the end of the concert. What's more, we got the blame for it!" (Melody Maker, 8th October 1994)
The consequence was that the Pope Paul VI sent out a bull of ex-communication, which banned Tangerine Dream from ever performing in a Catholic church anywhere in the world in the future. This sort of ban is not something that happens to you every day and of course it created a lot of publicity at that time. Both in private and on stage the band have always been very withdrawn and they have never been surrounded by any rock-star status, so here was finally something for the public eye to dig into. The ban might be lifted now, but the event is something that often gets mentioned when someone in the media is doing a fast review of Tangerine Dream's career.
The concert was by the way broadcast on the radio and the music played is very typical of Tangerine Dream at this point -- a lot of improvisation -- based on long floating soundscapes - played in the minor tone colours.
A futuristic celebration? A psychedelic mass? A ritual echoism? However, it is a landmark in Tangerine Dream's band history: the concert a Reims Cathedral -- with German singer Nico -- on Friday, December 13th, 1974. Maybe it is one of TD's most important gigs, but surely, it is the concert most enveloped in tales and legends. Reims Cathedral -- this caused quite a stir.
After the show was over, there were two things that occupied the people's minds: Christians felt the Gothic building desecrated and wondered how the abbot could agree to a concert with more than 5,000 spectators, leaving garbage, syringes, excretions. On the other hand, TD fans were concerned themselves with tracking down rumours of a bootleg recording. Still, more than 18 years after the event, it is not proved wheather the "Reims Cathedral" LP definitively does exist or not.
With the release of a double-CD bootleg Live! Improvised!, Tangerine Dream fans now are faced with new questions concerning this concert. For example, where did bootleggers get a concert recording of such extraordinary quality from? And who does take the commercial risk to publish -- even illegaly -- music which is so far from everything TD is doing today?
At least, the first of the questions had already been answered in Melody Maker of December 21st, 1974: "The great oak doors open, and thousands of mostly satisfied customers including a bevy of exceptionally smug bootleggers head homewards."